Checkpoint Asia

Erdogan Reiterates: “I’m Not Saying We’re Buying S-400s, I’m Saying We Bought Them”

Spells it out for Washington. Ads that Turkey is a co-producer of F-35s, not just a purchaser

Turkey has already bought the Russian S-400 missile defense systems, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, stressing that it is a done deal.

“I’m not saying Turkey will buy S-400 defense systems, it has already bought them; we’ve closed the deal,” Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s group meeting in the capital Ankara.

He noted that Ankara and Moscow had signed the deal with a pledge for a reasonable price and future joint production.

“This [S-400] system will be delivered to our country next month,” Erdogan added.

Touching on Turkey’s procurement of F-35 fighter jets from the U.S., Erdogan said his country is not only a customer, but also co-producer of the jets.

Ankara had paid $1 billion 250 million for the F-35 jets until today, the president underlined.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile defense system which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 system.

U.S. officials advised Turkey to buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400s from Moscow, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Source: Anadolu News